Psalm 31 is another of the remarkable poems of David that speak of the death and resurrection of Christ. We are prone to wonder how much the Holy Spirit revealed to David as he wrote because these psalms also have an immediate application to David’s life as well. If you will notice the fifth verse, David wrote, “Into thy hand I commit my spirit: thou has redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” We can see how David would have written this about himself because he was fully dependent upon the Lord for strength. The New Testament records that David had a heart for God and we are encouraged to emulate him in our own affections for our heavenly Father. Though we can see the application of the verse to David’s life, we also know these are words spoken by Jesus as He hung on the cross. Just before He surrendered His life, He said, “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
The confusing part of this psalm is how it alternates between the life of Christ, His death, and His resurrection. These are not presented in a clear, orderly fashion from one step to the next, but rather the joy of the resurrection may be immediately displaced by the suffering of His life. An example of this is seen in the latter part of the fifth verse which speaks of Christ’s redemption, an obvious reference to His resurrection, and then by verse ten we are brought back to His life—“For my life is spent with grief.”
I hope you can see by this how challenging Bible interpretation can be. Most of us read through the Psalms quickly without considering the deeper implications. We might even feel there is no use reading slowly because we just cannot understand. If this were true, the Bible would be nearly useless for a Christian. And yet these same Psalms tell us the word of God enlightens and strengthens us. How can this be if we have no understanding?
Our heavenly Father knows this. He never intended for His words to be understood by those without a regenerate heart (1 Cor. 2:14). However, He most certainly did intend that His people should hear and understand (1 Cor. 2:12). The enlightening of the mind to truth is one of the wonderful works of the indwelling Holy Spirit. When the Christian applies himself to study and asks for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding will come. God wants you to know Him better and the only way you can is by His self-revelation in the written word.
I encourage you first of all to read; and secondly to read carefully and deliberately. There is no secret I reveal in a sermon that you may not already know by your own diligent study. Yes, you will have questions because none of us can plumb all the depths of scripture. God gave pastors and teachers to help you and we promise to do so; but He did not give us to do all the work for you.
Do not be discouraged with your reading. Keep it regular and consistent, and I promise upon the authority of the word itself, you shall see and know God better through scripture.
Pastor V. Mark Smith